News

Instagram’s Latest Attempt to Displace SnapChat Launches Today

Instagram's New Direct Message Feature Puts
This is e-commerce content. If you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story we may receive a small commission of the sale.

* Instagram launches new Direct Messaging feature today
* Ephemeral DMs will allow users to send temporary photos and videos
* Instagram’s growing interface threatens SnapChat

In Instagram’s latest efforts to monopolize the social media market, the photo sharing app has launched a new ephemeral direct messaging feature in the app’s latest version released today. While the direct messaging feature launched back in 2013, text messages and conversations would stay archived within the application, unless manually deleted by users. Now, the app will feature the option to send and reply with ephemeral video and images, that will disappear from the message automatically. Much like the SnapChat photo and video sharing platform, Instagram users will be able to select the duration in which they want the message to stay visible in their messages dashboard.

According to Instagram’s Product Lead for Sharing, Robby Stein, the new “ephemepermanence” DM feature is part of larger effort to cater to this generation’s obsession with visual communication. He tells TechCrunch, “There’s a shift happening right now… with a generation where the main way they communicate is their camera.”

The new direct messaging interface consists of two split composer views, allowing you to switch back and forth between permanent and ephemeral DMs by simply swiping left. Each new message thread in the ephemeral composer (indicated by the black camera icon) will include a text box and a camera, allowing users to send disappearing videos and photos within a thread. Sending goofy selfies and videos to friends that won’t last forever, are apparently appealing to millennials and gen-z consumers.

In an age where accessibility and instant gratification has become not only the preference, but also the norm, the lack of permanence in content sharing is all part of the fun. But the ephemeral quality of Insta’s new feature may appeal to older social media users, who have experienced the permanent consequences of posting content, images and statuses, on social media platforms like Facebook, in which deleting the trace of a post is far more complicated and in some cases, impossible.

Instagram’s newest addition to the rapidly-expanding app, is just one of the many moves taken in Insta-history to virtually position similar apps on the market as irrelevant and undesirable through its all-inclusive platform. You may recall when the app effectively displaced the video-sharing app, Vine back in 2015, or, when they added a new “stories” feature, mimicking the SnapChat model in 2016.

The new ephemeral DM option seems to put SnapChat at risk even further, according to new stock market data. As soon as Instagram broke the news of its latest DM addition, SnapChat Inc’s share price dropped 2.79%. The one advantage that SnapChat has over Instagram’s latest rip-off is that text is also ephemeral, whereas all text will remain permanent with Instagram’s direct messaging.